Addiction, or substance use disorder (SUD), is a chronic and life-long mental health that involved physical and mental dependence on a specific substance that cause a cycle of use and other self-harming behaviors. Living with addiction can negatively impact all areas of life including relationships, finances, careers, physical health, mental health, and more. While there is no cure-all for addiction, there are treatments that can help people living in active addiction establish sobriety.

Symptoms of Addiction

There are symptoms of addiction that can help people who may be struggling with addiction better recognize if they may be living with this condition. Some of the most common symptoms of substance use disorder include:

Inability to Control Use: People who have developed addiction feel that they cannot control the use of their drug of choice. They also feel that the need to obtain and use addictive substances, even though it interferes with life and causes consequences, takes over their lives.

Inability to Stop: People who struggle with addiction may have tried to stop using their drug of choice several times but keep coming back. They find it very difficult to stop using and aren’t equipped with the means to stay sober.

Obsessive Tendencies: Addiction can take over thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. So, it’s common for people who are addicted to an addictive substance to find themselves obsessing over the means to obtain their addictive substance and thinking about using it a lot.

Needing to Use More: Addictive substances cause physical dependence on a substance. So, people who use addictive substances and develop addiction may start to need to use more to experience desired effects. This is known as tolerance. People living with addiction find that their tolerance to addictive substances increases as time goes on while using them.

Consequences: After some time, addiction starts to catch up to a person. This means experiencing the consequences of addiction in real life. For example, losing friends, getting in trouble with the law, having issues at work, developing physical illness, etc. People living in active addiction will continue to use it even after experiencing the consequences of addiction.

Withdrawal Symptoms: One sure sign of addiction is physical dependence, meaning that the body begins to ‘depend’ upon a substance and without it, experiences adverse effects known as withdrawal. So, people living in active addiction experience withdrawal symptoms when they aren’t using for a while. Withdrawal can look different depending on the substance a person is addicted to. But, some common examples of withdrawal include sweating, nausea, trembling, inability to sleep, and vomiting.

Causes of Addiction

There is no one cause of addiction. However, there are things that can increase a person’s risks for developing addiction. Some of these risk factors include experiencing trauma, concurring mental health issues like depression or anxiety, family history of addiction, and physical illness or injury.

Treatments for Addiction

There are several types of treatments for addiction, both traditional and holistic. Traditional treatments for addiction include 12-step programs, cognitive behavioral therapies, and medications. Holistic approaches to addiction treatment include mindfulness techniques like breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation. It’s suggested that a combination of treatments be utilized to approach addiction treatment as every person’s experience with addiction differs. Individuals seeking help with addiction must be open-minded about addiction treatment approaches and try several treatments before determining what’s right for them and developing an individualized treatment plan.

Neurofeedback for Addiction

Another type of approach for treating addiction is neurofeedback. Otherwise known as EEG Biofeedback, neurofeedback therapy helps to address changes in the brain that result in various unwanted behaviors in people who struggle with addiction. It’s a non-invasive, neurological approach that doesn’t involve the use of any medications, so it’s a good option for many people. Essentially, the goal of neurofeedback for addiction is to train the brain and pinpoint dysregulation that can lead to addictive behaviors.

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